Silence Is the Language of God. All Else Is Poor Translation.

Adnan Chaudhry

Spring is upon us and has ushered in a riot of colours with flora and fauna creating a potpourri, refreshing all beings across the world. These sites and aromas arrest our movements and bide us to become one with the gorgeousness of the surroundings. These magnificent shows of nature descend upon us every year but alas, most of us in our haste had a tendency of ignoring these blissful moments, until now.

The COVID-19 pandemic with all its devastation and heartbreaks also brought forth a sense of serenity and stillness.

Immobility has been imposed by the governments but there is another aspect that has become apparent with time, the power of silence.

While the lockdown continues, the earth’s atmosphere has gone on a much-awaited reset. Polluted rivers and streams have started to breathe again in the absence of dumped industrial waste. Blue skies have created a horizon that had been erased from memories for decades, thanks to the missing emissions from millions of cars that are now parked in garages.

It has especially jolted man to rethink his status in the whole scheme of things; the Universe and our earth can very well manage without him. This is a perfect time for us to halt, ponder and reset our lives, redefine our values and missions.

When we look back in time, we see that the world has witnessed unprecedented development in the last century. From a primitive Agro-based society, the world transformed to a complex industrial and services sector-based economy and is now moving towards knowledge-based economy.

Since the lust for power and wealth are ingrained in human nature it wouldn’t cease from the masses once the lockdown eases. In fact, a lot of individuals are feeling like a lake being stopped at the floodgates of an overflowing dam that would burst from its seams once the door is opened; we have become slaves to this adrenaline rush.

There are stories of people making billions of dollars betting on the downturn of the stock market during the past weeks on one side, and on the other side there are also clear signs of a massive recession hitting on a global scale with furloughs and layoffs becoming a daily event.

Since day-to-day activities are on hold, we should take this opportunity to reflect.

It is a time to ponder on the times to come, on a personal level, in terms of organisations as well as the society as a whole.

The EMC programme designed by Manfred Kets de Vries and driven by Erik van de Loo and Roger Lehman is a bliss that helps individuals see through the clutter of today’s world. It opened a new avenue for me in terms of coming to terms with reality and in this time of uncertainty it is a guiding light to take me through the darkness of the unseen future.

I would call it a journey – a journey of 18 months with 36 participants from 23 nationalities with different backgrounds and experiences. A self-exploratory journey to know oneself and to have a better understanding of our inner theater. There was laughter, smiles, tense moments and as expected deadlines, but little did I expect tears and revolting thoughts; I went through it all and survived.

Like most of modern-day executives I was also constantly battling with the nerve-wrecking issues of work-life-balance and was trying to bring harmony to my personal and professional life.

The most apparent and disturbing consequence of this work-related stress being felt by modern executives is the imbalance between the personal and professional lives. The desire for a ‘successful’ professional career has taken precedence over all other aspects of life.

The pursuit of material things, which are generally considered a measure of success, lies at the centre of modern life. The materialistic comforts of today blind the simplicity that our ancestors used to get by with. Every animate form and thing may it be technology, or a standard item of luxury tries to convince us that the existence of happiness lies with its possession. The more we possess however, the less fulfilled we are and hence the race towards happiness and wellbeing.

In today’s world, technology is changing at a rapid pace and as a result, seeing through the clutter becomes difficult for a mind that has become addicted to information rather than the thought process.

The safe space provided to me by INSEAD helped me regain that lost equilibrium and I developed the ability to get rid of my biases and the capability to detox every negative and unnecessary noise through a guided process.

It is worth mentioning that during this journey a dimension opened, like walking into the abyss, and little did I know that I would be turning into an accidental gypsy being tossed and turned in a grinder. Equipped with the lenses acquired during my EMC journey, I explored and found the hidden connections between the teachings and learning of Freud and spirituality/Sufism as well which is grace, gratitude, empathy and most importantly love.

The love that holds and binds the precipices of our mutual bonds. It creates a bond within God’s creations, humans, animals, plants, the seen and the unseen. The imagination of it is beyond time and space and takes on an angle that is an unknown dimension. Metaphorically speaking it is a continuous spinning wheel eventually connecting us with our inner being.

In the end it will not be out of place to state that unless we achieve this crucial feat of “Know Thyself” at this stage, we are at danger of having an unguided next generation and unprepared leaders who would be no better than AI-controlled robots.

And who knows what a modern version of the current pandemic could look like after 100 years. Let us together make use of this time to observe the reconstruction of the nature, gracefully it goes back to its original state, let us offer the respect it deserves and learn to heal through its melodious and divine trance.